My Little Chickadee - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Little Chickadee Reviews

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August 24, 2016
Not that modern audiences figure that a comedy co-headlined by Mae West and W.C. Fields equates instantaneous gold, but their one and only film together, 1940's "My Little Chickadee," is the cinematic equivalent of what Rachel Green's botched trifle might have tasted like in "The One Where Ross Got High." With their individual brands of humor opposite and lacking in cohesion, laughs aren't as prone to abounding as flinching is.
Fields's methods for getting a chuckle out of his audience involve him devising a character, a lovable nincompoop with an eggplant nose and the voice of a gorilla. West, in the meantime, charms by playing Mae West, an incredibly sexual tigress who delivers her every line as if it's the last in an argument and she'd rather die than not get the final word in.
Separately, they're forces of nature, ahead-of-their-time era definers. But together, they mesh with all the chemistry of a fly and a pool of vinegar; they seem to be fighting for the camera's attention, for the affection of consumers, to no avail.
The incompatibility between the two isn't so surprising. Though West wrote the screenplay and was perhaps the most vocally creative person behind the scenes, Fields, despite only penning a single sequence, was given equal credit in post-production. During filming, the latter, incapable of allowing for his female opponent to garner most of the movie's attention, drank heavily, started fights, and refused to deliver a performance devoid of camera mugging.
But regardless of if the pair appears to be starring in two separate movies, the film is a misstep in spite of its stars' disdain for one another. The screenplay, undercooked and heavier on one-liners than a Bond picture running on empty, is a weird disarray of multiple genres, and the acting, especially from Fields and West, is more flavored in dated, chintzy vaudevillian delivery than zesty, in-the-know sharpness. We feel like we're watching a film made by huge stars on the final legs of a prosperous career, doing everything they can to stay relevant. But because the 1940s saw the rise of Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder, comedy maestros who never took the easy way out, the styles of West and Fields seem out of touch in "My Little Chickadee," of another time and another place.
In the film, which is set in the Old West of the 1880s, West is Flower Belle Lee, a Chicago based saloon singer on her way out to the frontier to visit some relatives. But during the ride over is she kidnapped by The Masked Bandit, an infamous criminal with a fondness for gold and grand entrances. Whether Flower Belle and her captor had something going on before the abduction took place is unclear. But hours later, at her aunt's western home, she turns up, completely unharmed. "I was in a tight spot but I managed to wriggle out of it," she purrs after being asked how she got away so quickly.
But when it's inevitably discovered that Flower Belle and her kidnapper have been having a red hot love affair since her safe return, she's banished from town, only permitted to return if she regains her respectability through marriage.
On the train back home, she meets Cuthbert J. Twillie (Fields), a blundering con man. After noticing a hoarding of cash in his bag, Flower Belle comes to the conclusion that she's hit the lottery - she's been ostracized by a community for only a few hours and has already met a rich guy. Since she's a barracuda that wouldn't dream of wasting an opportunity to get ahead in life, she hastily marries Twillie, unaware that he's really a bubble-headed grifter and not a cuddly millionaire.
And the rest of "My Little Chickadee" follows their antics in Greasewood City, where Twillie is appointed town sheriff (only because the region's boss is a criminal and needs a knothead in charge of law enforcement to continue his reign of terror) and where Flower Belle digs deeper in her trying to discovery just who The Masked Bandit really is.
A tidal wave of gut-busting the film could be, but its humor is strangely stagnant. West's usually refreshingly bawdy femininity seems obvious and obligatory - her zingers, renowned for their envelope pushing, incur the wrath of the eye roll - and Fields's persona goes far beyond the limitations of what his little-goes-a-long-way instincts normally allow. I'd hope for anything besides something middling when a pair of comedy legends are brought together for something good, but the odds aren't always in my favor and West and Fields don't mix to make a tasty flavor.
July 12, 2015
Fields and West were brilliant.
July 3, 2015
Get rid of everything else, just let fields and Mae duke it out.
April 16, 2015
The "best" of the W.C. Fields films I've seen, and the vast majority of the reason for that has to do with Mae West. West isn't at the top of her game, but she's still a good screen presence. The plot is the least annoying I've seen from Fields as well.
July 27, 2014
140727: Loved this film. First real introduction to Mae West and, though a bit exaggerated, loved her too. WC Fields and this film are both classics. May not have gotten great reviews historically, but it made me laugh and kept me fully entertained. I will definitely watch it again and add it to my collection.
½ December 16, 2013
The pairing of W. C. Fields and Mae West proved to be less funny than I hoped but there is still something compelling in seeing these two larger-than-life personalities come head-to-head. The plot about a mysterious masked bandit who is making it with Mae while the rest of the town is after him (except fall guy sheriff Fields) is incidental. Fields is daft and full of witty repartee and some physical comedy. West is sly and full of double entendres. But nothing is really laugh out loud funny or subversive enough to tease the censors. The punchline comes at the end when Fields says "come up and see me some time" and West uses the title phrase, but I reckon their earlier solo films are better.
December 17, 2012
It had some funny scenes from W.C. Fields, but the movie as whole was not very interesting.
July 18, 2011
Mae West, I think the word "Broad" was coined after her, cause in her words"I ain't no Lady", & she sure wasn't
June 15, 2011
Teaming West and Fields coudln't go wrong and it didn't but it's not quite as funny as the best films of either star.
June 1, 2011
WC Fields and Mae West 2 of the top comics of the 1930's together. No more needs to be said.
dietmountaindew
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2011
even i do like mae west but i didn't enjoy this movie.

the reason i choose to review it now is because i feel like to vent!
January 20, 2011
It's a shame that WC Fields and Mae West collaborated on 1 film. The 2 stars wrote and starred in it together, but also tried to one-up each other so much that rewrites turned it into a fight for the top-spot. Maybe it works in the sense of Judd Apatow films of improv-ing and trying to one-up the other actors, but the 1940 didn't have millions of feet of film to adlib in... If only they did. Still, the hilarious gags still work to West and Fields' best, but the story could've been so much more.
½ August 30, 2010
Fairly amusing... but too much time is dedicated to the framework of a plot that exists outside the West/Fields routine. The two of them work superbly together, though. West is actually more ridiculous than Fields... no small feat. Not really a patch on The Bank Dick, but pretty entertaining anyway.
½ April 2, 2010
The combination of W.C. Fields and Mae West winds up being not as good as it sounds. My Little Chickadee takes place in the old west. When Mae West falls for a "Zorro" type masked bandit, she's sent to live in another town to keep her honor intact (har har). On the train ride, she meets W.C., and mistakes his satchel full of whiskey coupons for a sack full of money and agrees to marry him in order to get that money. Meanwhile, W.C. is appointed sheriff of the town by the local bar owner (who sort of controls the town), as he thinks W.C. will make a good patsy. Add to this the local newspaper publisher, who's on a crusade to clean up the town and make it wholesome. Of course, all of the above men are in love with the aging West. And who could help themselves? She doesn't recite her lines so much as purr and growl them. West is all affectation and innuendo, and it's not particularly good innuendo. Her performance is very flat, to say the least, and as she was nearing 50 at the time (albiet a very attractive and young-looking 50), her schtick isn't very convincing . W.C. gives it his best, but the material just isn't up to his usual standard. It's a typical cowboy type picture with very little enthusiasm from the cast. I can't remember any of the gags, other than West limp-wristedly shooting indians out the train car window with deadeye accuracy. Pretty forgettable.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ March 26, 2010
The combination of W.C. Fields and Mae West winds up being not as good as it sounds. My Little Chickadee takes place in the old west. When Mae West falls for a "Zorro" type masked bandit, she's sent to live in another town to keep her honor intact (har har). On the train ride, she meets W.C., and mistakes his satchel full of whiskey coupons for a sack full of money and agrees to marry him in order to get that money. Meanwhile, W.C. is appointed sheriff of the town by the local bar owner (who sort of controls the town), as he thinks W.C. will make a good patsy. Add to this the local newspaper publisher, who's on a crusade to clean up the town and make it wholesome. Of course, all of the above men are in love with the aging West. And who could help themselves? She doesn't recite her lines so much as purr and growl them. West is all affectation and innuendo, and it's not particularly good innuendo. Her performance is very flat, to say the least, and as she was nearing 50 at the time (albiet a very attractive and young-looking 50), her schtick isn't very convincing . W.C. gives it his best, but the material just isn't up to his usual standard. It's a typical cowboy type picture with very little enthusiasm from the cast. I can't remember any of the gags, other than West limp-wristedly shooting indians out the train car window with deadeye accuracy. Pretty forgettable.
December 22, 2009
W.C. Fields y Mae West se unen por unica vez en esta fantastica comedia ubicada en el lejano Oeste. Cada linea de dialogo vale oro en una de las mejores comedias en la historia del cine. Totalmente imperdible.
½ December 9, 2009
There were actually some really funny parts, especially some of the one liners.
½ November 1, 2009
Mae West was awesome in this movie.
½ October 20, 2009
I thought West and Fields had great on screen chemistry and they were both hilarious. I wonder if he came up and really did see her that time?
October 1, 2009
wc & mae at their best
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